Dear Pharmacist, Thank You

by Farran DavisJune 21, 2021View more posts from Farran Davis

Dear Pharmacist,

Thank you. 

I have an unfortunate feeling that these are two words you don’t hear anywhere near as often as you deserve. 

Growing up, I was an extremely ‘anti-medicine’ type of person. It was purely a personal choice, as I never did and still don’t have an issue with other people taking medicine. I just didn’t want to put anything inside my body that seemed harmful. This is especially ironic if you knew the kinds of foods I would regularly eat. But anything a doctor would want to prescribe or could be purchased over-the-counter, I avoided like the plague. The situation obviously changed drastically once I was diagnosed with cancer. If I wanted to live, I had to compromise and take these yucky medicines, which I was led to believe would be a temporary situation. Since I felt chemotherapy was one of the worst things that could go through my body, it felt like everything else was fair game at that point so I no longer resisted and avoided the ‘evil pharmacy products’.

My first appointment with my oncologist to discuss my treatment was overwhelming. I went from taking no medicines, not even Tylenol as needed, to having a page-long list of various medications. Some to prevent symptoms and some to alleviate them, some to support my body and some to cure secondary ailments. I indiscriminately started taking these medicines by the fistful. However, as I was a newbie, I wanted to be educated and knowledgeable about my situation. I needed as much support as possible.

Having cancer is an absolute full-time job. Making it to your scheduled appointments with your doctor, for lab work, and treatment is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. That is something I don’t think is ever fully understood or realized until you’re right in the middle of the situation. Having cancer is also not something a person does on their own: a team is vital. Some of the obvious team members will include the oncologist and primary care provider, for example. From my personal experience, for whatever reason, pharmacists are often not considered or remembered and therefore, not utilized as much as they should be. I started off this way. That was a shame: you are such an absolutely amazing and readily available resource. 

Over the many years, I have been managing different treatments and maintenance protocols. I have personally found that as my pharmacist, you aren’t just the person that I give some money to in order to receive my shockingly large bag stuffed full of medicines. 

As my pharmacist, you have served repeatedly as a source of amazing knowledge, taking the time to explain and clarify any points of confusion I have, and offering various tips or tricks I might find helpful. 

You have calmly answered calls from myself and loved ones, putting our fears to rest or providing guidance on what to tell the doctor when I call.

You have had my back time and time again, dealing with insurance, whether it’s reinitiating a prior authorization or addressing the sudden increase in the cost of a medication, and everything in between. Dealing with insurance just by itself is more than enough to drive me up a wall. 

You have calmed my controlling and worrisome self by constantly keeping me apprised of my orders and shipment statuses, even way before checking the app or receiving text messages became standard. 

You have even been a source of empathy. You validated the difficulties I’m facing, the challenges with keeping up with everything, and sincerely want me to feel better, especially when I wander to the pharmacy counter feeling particularly under the weather.

You have come to know and understand me over the years on a personal level. You give me just the right amount of information at just the right time. If something is amiss, you do not hesitate to get clarification before you even speak with me. While I am aware of some of the issues and battles you have fought on my behalf, I also know oftentimes you have already resolved the problem before I was aware there was one.

Again, thank you. I am so unbelievably grateful to have you as an integral part of my medical team, going above and beyond to ensure I have what I need, whether it’s the physical medicine or peace of mind. Although pharmacy visits still might not be on par with going to party hard at the local discotech, seeing the warm, smiling faces of you and your team, a group of truly amazing human beings that know me by first name, brings me a great deal of comfort. You make me feel seen, heard, and supported. You’ve made my life easier and your tireless support has helped many of my days and situations go more smoothly. And I can guarantee you that I am not the only person that feels this way.

One last time: thank you.

To learn more about how Walgreens pharmacists are here for cancer patients, please visit Walgreens.com/cancerhelp.

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